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Board approves singular planning committee to craft facilities plan, evaluate options for bond measure

After hitting the pause button, the Newberg School District is moving forward with a long-term facilities evaluation, solidifying a key part of its planning process as it considers putting a bond measure before voters in May 2019.

At its Nov. 28 meeting, the school board approved the creation of a long-range facilities planning committee, which will be tasked with crGRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - The Newberg School District is moving forward with a long range facilities planning committee, which will be tasked with crafting a 10-year facilities plan beginning in January. The committee will then engage the public to help prioritize maintenance, repairs and any potential replacements and determine how to fund them, which could include a general obligation bond in May 2019.afting a comprehensive, 10-year school facility plan.

That plan, which is required under Oregon law, will incorporate population projections, physical improvements to schools and facilities, and financial plans to meet school facility needs.

With the help of an architect, the committee will begin work in January to determine the status of all school facilities and evaluate safety and security needs. The committee will then take feedback from the community and make a recommendation to the board about offering a bond measure.

"The group will take the long-range facilities plan and through engagement with our community, pick out some of the specific projects, get feedback and then craft whatever we need to put forward to the board for a recommendation on what should be included in a bond," Assistant Superintendent Dave Parker said. "Whether that is, 'we shouldn't bond anything,' or that is 'this is the set of needs we need to prepare for.'" 

Parker, who will lead the planning process, reported to the board about a meeting with a bond consultant Nov. 17.

That consultation came three days after the board approved of separate bond exploration and a facility-focused committee at its Nov. 14 meeting, and led to the district re-evaluate the process, eventually opting for one committee.

Under the initial plan, Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza was set to lead and had recruited numerous community members to participate in a bond exploration committee, while Parker was still in the process of forming a facilities committee.

Those two committees have essentially become one and the community members who had expressed interest in either one of the original committees have been invited to participate in the new long-range facilities planning group.

"Part of this plan is to bring folks together and not only have conversations about what the community wants -- what they see as the mission and the vision of the district -- but actually have assessors go out, into the schools and look at the conditions of our systems, our buildings, our roofs, the whole system," Parker said.

The district's most recent bond measure, approved by voters in 2011, included $27 million for security updates, construction repairs and improvements and some technology upgrades and purchases.

The district is currently targeting the May 2019 election, which would coincide with the expiration of the 2011 bond, meaning that if a bond measure of equal value was approved, property tax statements would be unchanged in 2020.

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